The overall purpose of this multi-volume work is to promote cultural identity of the peoples of Central Asia, strengthening their common cultural heritage and fostering a better understanding among the peoples of the world enabling them to have a keener sense of their collective destiny by highlighting their individual contributions to the History of Humanity. The History of Civilizations of Central Asia has five major domains: The archaeology and the history of the Kushan empire; The history of the arts of Central Asia; The contribution of the peoples of Central Asia to the development of science; The history of ideas and philosophy; The literatures of Central Asia. These volumes will reveal cultures that flourished and vanished in this area, from the dawn to civilization to the present time and will lift the curtain to reveal a richer, more varied civilization, the history of the ancient and medieval world.
Fith volume continues the History of Central Asian Civilizations from c. 1500 to c. 1850, a period which saw the last medieval empires notably the Uzbeks, Safavids, Mughals and Dzungars, and witnessed the early impact of colonialism. Like the preceding volumes, the present one also deals with all the diverse elements of culture. It describes the last phase of nomadism as a viable system of social organization; the effects on Central Asian economies of the shift of the main lines of international trade from the Great Silk Route to the oceanic routes; the various schools of art; the last great age of classical Persian literature and the growth of Turkic literatures; and, finally, in the religious sphere, the Shi te triumph in Persia, the conversion of the Mongol peoples to Buddhism, and the rise of Sikhism. It also analyses the problem of the lag in Central Asian scientific and technological development in relation to Europe and the nature of early colonialism-notably British and Russian - in Central Asia. The conclusion sums up the main trends in Central Asian history from the sixteenth to the mid-nineteenth century.